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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Healthy Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

I LOVED Pop-Tarts as a kid. The nostalgic memories that those little filled pastries bring back remind me of good times. Now that I'm older I have more insight into the truth about Pop-Tarts: Did they taste good? YES. Were they healthy? NO. So I thought why not have a healthy Pop-Tart that tastes like a Pop-Tart? Hence, my Healthy Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts were born! These Pop-Tarts are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and fruit-sweetened. So you don't have to worry about all that excessive sugar & additives you'd find in an actual Pop-Tart.



The filling for these Pop-Tarts tastes identical to the brand-name Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts filling. I'll admit the pastry isn't exactly the same, but these Pop-Tarts are delicious (and healthy), nonetheless! As to whether these are a breakfast or a dessert is up to you, but I'm not gonna lie, I eat one of these for breakfast with a serving of fresh fruit.


With the cinnamon glaze, these Pop-Tarts are out-of-this-world sweet, so I recommend using the glaze sparingly, if using at all. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and fruit-sweetened (and can be made paleo).



The crust for these Pop-Tarts is just 8 ingredients, the filling is 4 ingredients, and the glaze is 4 ingredients. I sweetened these Pop-Tarts entirely with dates, but check the "Substitutions" section of this post for sugar-free substitutes.


These Pop-Tarts (despite being healthy) are decadent and very sweet, so I recommend having no more than one of these per day. Leftovers of these Pop-Tarts are stored in the fridge, so for when you want a Pop-Tart the next day, just pop one of them in the toaster oven for about 30 to 45 seconds, until warmed.



Nutritional Profile of Healthy Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts


Vegan butter- vegan butter is typically made with healthy vegetable oils (like Earth Balance) or plant milks (like Miyoko's). Healthy vegetable oils are loaded with healthy fats and are good for your heart, brain, skin, and hair. Plant milks are also full of healthy fats, as well as protein, vitamins & minerals, and fiber. These nutrients are good for your muscles, gastrointestinal tract, and overall health.


Dates- dates are antioxidant powerhouses that are also brimming with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Dates can help protect against anemia, promote gut health, and ward off disease thanks to the free-radical-fighting properties of antioxidants.


Sea salt- sea salt is better for you than table salt because it is typically less processed. Sea salt balances electrolytes, is good for the adrenal glands, and provides micronutrients. Try Himalayan pink sea salt.


Almond flour- almond flour is a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamin E. These nutrients are good for your nervous system, cardiovascular system, complexion, muscular system, digestive system, and helping prevent disease. Plus, almond flour is grain-free, making it paleo.


Oat flour- oats (and therefore oat flour, which is essentially finely ground oats) are rich in healthy carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and iron. Oats aid digestive health, help protect against anemia, and may aid weight loss. This is because the complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber found in oats makes you feel fuller for longer, reducing your likeliness to excessively snack and overeat.



Cinnamon- cinnamon contains antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds and promotes circulation, may help regulate blood sugar, and may have antimicrobial properties.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is packed with healthy fats and fatty acids and is good for heart health, brain health, skin health, hair health, immune health, and may have anti-fungal properties.


Almond milk- almond milk is an excellent source of vitamin E and vitamin D & calcium (if fortified). Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is good for your skin and hair and vitamin D & calcium are good for immune and bone health.



Substitutions


You can use any kind of vegan butter for this recipe (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's). The butter can't be substituted with anything else since it's the base for the Pop-Tart dough. The Medjool dates can be replaced with any other kind of date, such as Deglet Noor dates or may possibly be replaced with 1 1/2 cups of a granulated artificial sweetener such as Swerve or can be replaced possibly with 3/4 cup a sticky sweetener like maple syrup (NOTE: I have not made this recipe with any of these sweetener substitutes and therefore cannot guarantee the same consistency and flavor). The vanilla extract can be replaced with the equivalent amount of vanilla powder or scraped vanilla bean or can be omitted. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt, but I don't recommend omitting it.


For a grain-free and paleo flour substitute you may use 2 cups of lightly packed almond flour instead of the 1 cup of almond flour and the 1 cup of oat flour. However, note that using strictly almond flour will yield a softer dough that will be harder to work with. You can also substitute the oat flour with gluten-free 1-to-1 flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour. Or, you could substitute the almond flour with an additional cup of oat flour (so 2 cups of oat flour total). The arrowroot flour/starch can be swapped out with tapioca flour/starch, cassava flour/starch, or cornstarch. The ice water cannot be substituted.



For the filling, the Medjool dates can't be replaced since they contribute significantly to the texture and flavor, but you may use other types of dates. The cinnamon in the filling can't be replaced because this is a recipe for cinnamon sugar Pop-Tarts. The vanilla extract can be replaced with the equivalent amount of vanilla powder or scraped vanilla bean, or can be omitted (I recommend using it though!). The coconut oil is important for the texture and flavor of the filling, but perhaps you could use a neutral-flavored vegetable oil? (I would recommend just using the coconut oil, if you can).


For the glaze, the unsweetened almond milk can be replaced with your unsweetened or sweetened (if you can do sugar on your diet) plant milk of choice. The cinnamon can't be replaced and the date paste can be replaced with 1/8 tsp of monkfruit, stevia, or another artificial sweetener or a sticky sweetener, like maple syrup or agave, to taste. The vanilla can be omitted or replaced with almond extract.



10 Tips for Making These Healthy Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts


The following are 10 tips on how to successfully (and easily) make these Pop-Tarts:


-For the dough, soak the dates in hot water for the maximum 15 minutes for the most uniform date paste (so there's even sweetness and a uniform texture)


-NEVER SOFTEN the butter and cut in COLD cubed butter into the flour mixture (the butter should come straight from the fridge before being cubed and cut in to the flour)


-Cut the vegan butter into Tablespoon-sized pats, and then cube the butter pats into 1-centimeter size squares (about 9 squares from each pat) (this will make incorporating the butter into the flour much easier)


-Freeze the dough for a long enough amount of time. I froze mine for 2 1/2 hours before handling it and this dough benefits from a long freezing period because it is soft. You can freeze this dough up to 24 hours in advance


-For assembling: always keep the dough you're not rolling out & cutting in the freezer so it stays cold and doesn't soften




-Flour your working station, but don't over-flour it. Flour prevents the dough from sticking to the cutting board or other surface you're working on and the rolling pin, but too much flour causes the dough to fall apart and tear


-Roll the dough evenly to an 1/8" thick. I KNOW. It's tedious to roll it this thin, especially with dough that's soft, but you want as thin a pastry as possible and you want the dough to be uniformly rolled out to the same thickness


-Place the already cut rectangles in the fridge while rolling and cutting more. This will prevent the rectangles from softening. Also, use a pizza cutter while cutting the rectangles, as this will make your life much easier!


-Use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the cinnamon "sugar" filling for each of these Pop-Tarts. Trust me, you want to be able to taste that filling!


-Use a ruler to get the precise measurements on the dimensions of each Pop-Tart rectangle



Sneak Peek...


Hi everyone! I'm back with more new recipes on the way! Some of my newest creations I've made and I plan on making include:


-Vegan Gluten-Free Corn Muffins

-Healthy "Sugar" Cookies

-Carrot Cake Cupcakes ..

AND MORE!!


This Pop-Tart recipe is one of my top favorite recipes I've created, and I hope you all enjoy it too!


As Always,

Enjoy!

-K.



Healthy Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Chill Time: at least 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 to 22 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes to 2 hours 52 minutes

Servings: 7 to 8 Pop-Tarts


Ingredients:


For the dough:

-3/4 cup cold vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's), straight from the fridge

-1 cup Medjool dates

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-1 cup almond flour, lightly packed

-1 cup gluten-free oat flour

-1/2 cup arrowroot flour/starch (or tapioca/cassava flour/starch or cornstarch)

-1 to 2 Tbsp filtered ice water


For the filling:

-1 cup Medjool dates

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

-2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted


For the glaze:

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-2 Tbsp date paste OR 1/8 tsp monk fruit sweetener

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract


For rolling:

-arrowroot flour


For brushing:

-1 Tbsp vegan butter, melted


Directions:


1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or two large silicone baking mats. Fill a large glass or small pitcher with fresh, cold water and ice cubes. Soak the dates in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes.


2. Blend the drained dates in the food processor until a paste forms. Set aside.


3. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, oat flour, arrowroot flour, and sea salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.


4. Cube the cold butter (it should be straight from the fridge) by slicing the butter into 1-Tablespoon sized pats, and from that cubing the butter into 1-centimeter sized squares, with each pat forming 9 squares (Tip: stack up multiple pats and cut through them all simultaneously to save yourself cutting time).


5. Cut in the cold cubed butter and incorporate the date paste into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or fork. You'll know you're done when a dough/batter is formed.


6. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.


7. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of the ice water to the dough, starting with 1/2 Tbsp (1 1/2 tsp) and adding in additional ice water in 1/2 Tbsp increments at a time as needed, until the dough seems to have gotten at least slightly more firm (it can still be really soft like a batter consistency, though). The dough will be more like a batter consistency right now and that's OK.


8. Place the dough in an airtight container and freeze the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.


9. Prepare the cinnamon "sugar" filling for these Pop-Tarts: on the stove in a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and allow to cool slightly. Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the food processor and blend until combined. Make sure no attachments on the food processor are blocking the feeder tube hole and while the food processor is turned on, slowly drizzle in the melted coconut oil through the feeder tube hole until the mixture is thick and shiny. Place the filling in the fridge to keep fresh.


10. After the dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough from the freezer. Turn half of the Pop-Tart dough out onto a cutting board floured with arrowroot flour/starch. Place the other half of the dough back in the freezer to keep cold.


11. Flour a rolling pin and the top of the dough you're working with. Roll the dough into approximately a 9 1/2" by 12 1/2" rectangle, about 1/8" thick.


12. From this large rectangle, use a pizza cutter to cut smaller rectangles, each 4" by 3". Place each small rectangle on a baking sheet or lined plate and place in the fridge in between rolling and cutting (this will ensure the dough doesn't get too soft).


13. Re-roll the dough as needed, and if the dough gets too soft, put the dough you were working with in the freezer and take the dough that was in the freezer out and start rolling and cutting it. Alternate between the dough you're working with and the dough in the freezer and re-roll the dough as needed and keep cutting the dough into small rectangles until there's no dough left.


14. Melt 1 Tbsp vegan butter in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat. Set aside.


15. To assemble the Pop-Tarts: use one of the small 4" by 3" rectangles as the base for one of your Pop-Tarts and place it on a lined baking sheet. Spoon approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of the filling into the center of the Pop-Tart, leaving 1/2" of plain dough on the outer edges of the Pop-Tart. Brush the outer edges of the bottom piece of the Pop-Tart with the melted vegan butter and take another rectangle of dough (without filling) and brush the outer edges of it with melted vegan butter. Flip and place the rectangle without filling butter-side down on top of the rectangle with filling. Use a fork to press around the outer edges of the top piece of the Pop-Tart to seal and connect the pastry. Repeat this process with the rest of the rectangles. Make an "X" on the tops of each of the assembled Pop-Tarts by gently scoring the tops with a knife (this will allow steam to escape).


16. Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 degrees F) for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown.


17. Allow the Pop-Tarts to cool completely.


18. In a small bowl, add all of the glaze ingredients and whisk well until combined.


19. Once the Pop-Tarts are cooled, glaze them.


20. Serve with fresh fruit as part of a healthy breakfast, eat as a dessert (or crumbled as a topping on vegan vanilla ice cream, anyone?), or store in the fridge for later use. Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


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